Early Spring Fever GardeningEarly Spring Fever Gardening Dos and Don’ts

Signs of an early spring are popping up all around us. But what are some of the dos and don’ts of early spring gardening? Tracy Blevins of Plants Map and Ted Schubel of Town Talk discuss tasks that you can get started on now, things to wait on, and other ways to keep your spring fever under control

Has Spring Arrived?  

March 1: Meteorological spring begins. Weather bureaus group seasons into three consecutive months. Spring = March, April, May.

March 8: Daylight Saving Time Begins! Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time (DST) at 2:00 a.m. on the second Sunday in March. Myth: It was never adopted to help farmers – they staunchly opposed the idea. It was adopted as a way to save energy during World War I. 

March 19 (11:50pm): Astronomical spring arrives! This is also known as the vernal equinox or spring equinox. The word equinox comes from the Latin words for “equal night” – aequus (equal) and nox (night). On the equinox, the length of day and night is nearly equal in all parts of the world because the sun is moving from the southern hemisphere back to the northern hemisphere over the equator.

Why are plants coming out so soon? Increasing length of daylight hours is a trigger for a lot of plants. But another trigger is also warmer ambient (air) temperatures and warmer soil temperatures. Also see: Daylight, Photoperiodism and Onions.   

Frost and Freeze Dates: The Virginia Cooperative Extension has a new Vegetable Planting Guide with an updated frost map. More VCE Publications can be found at https://www.pubs.ext.vt.edu.

What’s the difference between a frost and a freeze? As a weather term, a freeze is when the air temperature drops and remains below 32ºF and winds are above 10 mph. Damage occurs within the cells of the plants. You can’t cover or protect from a freeze. A frost, on the other hand, requires three atmospheric conditions to occur: 1) temps near or below 32ºF, 2) little or no wind,  3) a high dew point. More at: ‘Tis the season for a nightly freeze or frost warning.

 More resources mentioned in the podcast:

MGACRA Events 

  • March 18 – MGACRA Membership Meeting: Virginia Native Plants (Nancy Vehrs), 1pm Howell Library. 
  • April 4 – Living in the Garden Symposium – Getting Ready for Spring. Reg by March 27.
  • April 15 – Tool Cleaning Workshop at Snow Library, 7pm.
  • Visit www.mgacra.org for event information.

Town Talk is every weekday morning from 8-9am on NewsTalk 1230, WFVA. Host Ted Schubel talks with Fredericksburg, Virginia, area leaders about events and issues affecting the region. Learn more at www.b1015.com/town-talk-w-ted-schubel.

Also listen to Town Talk: Seed Swap – A preview of the Seed Swap in Stafford on January 25th at the Rowser Building with Master Gardeners (MGACRA) Karen Brace and Tracy Blevins at www.b1015.com/episode/town-talk-seed-swap. Available on  iTunes | Stitcher | Google Play